I'm sure you know me, but do you love me? I am an ancient and perennial survivor, from Europe, North Africa, Northern Asia, and North America. Tiptoe amongst us, and then trim away our young leaves for a tangy, chewy treat. Before we flower, collect our buds to marinate or deep-fry. Take an early morning walk and wade through fresh flowers lopping off our heads. Weave our stems to make a crown, and then collect our manes to add our petals to favorite dishes or make my nostalgic and beatific brew. As the colder nights settle in, enjoy my leaves from your greenhouse, a bit longer, paler and milder than from the wild, but just as good. Try them fresh or wilted with a hot strong dressing, maybe a bit southern with salt pork and garlic as well. Or try a Pennsylvania Dutch sweet-sour recipe. Cook me, just a bit, to soften my texture and mellow my flavor, but don't cook me too long like some other bitter greens. Enjoy a coffee-like brew from my root, or perhaps, open a vintage fermentation. Okay, so you're not a romantic -- you'll prefer the story that snickers at the French loving our bitter greens and naming us 'lion's tooth' because of our jagged leaves. You'll belittle chefs turning us couture. Amused that we've become cultivated and harvested by hand or foraged from the wild, you'll never fall in love with us; you'll fertilize and dig us out of your perfect lawn. You'll find our sticky milk irritating your sensitive skin. You'll moan when we grow back where you’re sure you've killed us. You'll never know how well we aid appetite and work as a diuretic and laxative, but you'll love the nickname Pissabed, since to you we're just a weed. If you ever do try us for our calcium, potassium and vitamins A and C, you can buy us year round, with April and May being our heyday. Just avoid us at the side of the road or where chemicals are used. Are you sure you don't love us a little bit? You really never blew our seed puffs across the wind or read Sci-Fi writer Ray's book?

986 Produce Quiz courtesy of:
Richard Leibowitz
Culinary Specialty Produce
"We Follow Orders"

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